Shoho-gocho (Statistical Book of the Shoho Era) (正保郷帳)

Shoho-gocho is a statistical book which the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) ordered daimyo (feudal lords) to prepare by ryoseikoku (province), putting together the names and muradaka (total yields) of villages. The bakufu ordered preparation of gocho in 1644, and it took several years for daimyo to submit gocho for each province. At that time, domain maps (Shoho-kuniezu), pictorial maps of the castle (Shoho-shiroezu), a model of the castle and an account book of kaido (roads) were prepared along with gocho.

Process and purpose of preparation

On December 30, 1644, Seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Iemitsu TOKUGAWA instructed Ometsuke Masashige INOUE and Masayoshi MIYAGI to order daimyo to prepare and submit gocho. On January 13, 1645, Inoue and Miyagi started to summon rusui (caretaker or keeper [official post in the Edo era]) of daimyo and order them to submit gocho within that year and gave the same instructions to daikan (local governor) of the bakufu. On this occasion, the documents required to be submitted were domain maps, pictorial maps of the castle and michi-no-cho, in which land and sea routes and old castles were illustrated, as well as gocho. Daimyo who had a castle along Tokai-do Road were ordered to submit a wooden model of their castle as well. It took several years for many provinces to submit gocho, and some gocho were submitted as late as during the Shoho era (1644 to 1648) or later.

Gocho generally recorded total yields of each village, but the bakufu instructed to make the total sum equal to omote-daka of each daimyo in preparing Shoho-gocho. Omote-daka was kokudaka (crop yield) specified at the time of grant of territory, and it was different from actual crop yields. The bakufu tried to avoid changes in the rank order and social status of daimyo represented by kokudaka, rather than to comprehend the actual state of production of daimyo.

In principle, gocho were prepared per province, but Ezochi (inhabited area of Ainu), Ryukyu and Shodo-shima Island were each treated as one province, and Mutsu Province was divided into seven parts. In provinces governed by several daimyo, the leading daimyo was ordered to orchestrate preparation, or several daimyo shared the task.

The present situation of materials

Most of the gocho stored by the bakufu were lost, but gocho which were left in the house of daimyo who had prepared them remain in some provinces. Gocho which remain locally are relatively easy to see, because they are contained in the history book of the prefecture or of the municipalities, or published as materials by libraries and research groups in various areas.